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I'm alive!

Posts: 11
Joined: Jul 2013

I just wanted to introduce myself.  I have been joking that I am not very good at "owning" my cancer but I feel like I could use some support at times and I think that it might help people to hear my story.  I didn't have it that long so it still doesn't seem real to me.

I visited my doctor because I had some pain and I had already been treated for kidney stones.  She sent me to get a CT scan which revealed that I did have some very small stones but also a 31mm lesion on my left kidney.  After a CT guided biopsy, I was diagnosed with clear cell carcinoma.  It seemed so odd because I felt fine and I had no symptoms.   I had a CT scan done of my chest and thorax and there was no evidence that it had spread.

The first urologist I saw said that because of the location, he could not do a partial nephrectomy and he would have to take the whole kidney but he recommended Temple Urology in Philadelphia where they had more experience with robotic surgery.  Dr. Eun and his staff in Philly were confident that they could remove just the tumor and leave the rest of the kidney.  They were awesome!

I had the surgery on June 5.  It was pretty rough for me to be honest.  (Knock on wood) I have only been under general anesthesia once in my life and have generally been healthy.  I was so worried about being put under.  I just don't like giving up that control.  The night before the surgery, I was wondering if I had seen my last sunset.  It turns out that the surgery took much much longer than expected.  I went in at 8am and was expecting to be our by 10.  I woke up at 3:30 and I was so confused.  I remember pleading with my wife to tell me if I was going to be ok because I thought something had gone terribly wrong.  As it turned out, I had an extra artery that was feeding the cancer and I had lost a lot of blood during the surgery.  I felt awful when I woke up.  I had to spend 4 nights in the hospital instead of just 1 which was what was expected.  The staff at Temple in Philly were incredible.  I had a private room and my wife was able to stay with me.  For the first 48 hours, I didn't nothing but stare at the wall.  My wife said it was creepy because I am usually really active.  I did get up and move around as much as I could.  I was given 4 units of whole blood before my heart rate returned to relatively normal.  

I feel so fortunate to have a job that provided me with excellent health insurance and short term disability so that I had time to recover.  I am currently just a day or two away from the 1 month mark when my lifting restriction will be removed.  I went out for a short run yesterday (my legs are crazy sore today) and I am scheduled to walk a 5k on Saturday.  I feel really good.

I am still worried about reoccurrence.  I know that the chances are low but I didn't think that it was possible at 40 years old I would be diagnosed with cancer.  I smoked for about 15 years but quit 7 years ago.  My doctors think that the smoking is responsible for my cancer.  I will never smoke again, not that I had planned on it.  

 So that is my story.  I think that I want to be involved with the survivors group more to provide help and support for other people than to receive it.

MDCinSC's picture
Posts: 574
Joined: Feb 2013

Sounds like you had the initiation before the introduction to the club!  WOW!  Sorry about the rough experience. Reitierating many smarter folks than I, it is a club you never wanted to join, but you're in now.

I'll leave commenting on details to those better qualified, but you have a place here with ears to listen, hearts to appeal to, and that we know where you've been and what demons you face.  We are a group of survivors. You are one of us now.

We're here for good times, scary times, bad times, and the times when we need to wake up and pay attention. So don't be a stranger!  No one here bites,Laughing well not hard anyway!


icemantoo's picture
Posts: 2641
Joined: Jan 2010

Fiat driver,

Not fun, that initition, but it beats the alternative. Given the size of the little buggar you should be fine for at least another 40. Instead of the 5km next week, do 1 km until you feel alittle better, As far as smoking, I never did , but I became a member anyway. You probably will feel like you can do everything, but maybe not 8 hours a day.  Save the special stuff like roller coaster rides until next summer.




Posts: 11
Joined: Jul 2013

Thank you both for your kind words of welcome to the club.

I went back to my office last week for 4 hours a day and I am going to work a full day tomorrow if I am up for it.  I have been very conservative about my recovery.  My wife keeps worrying that I am going to try to do too much but I am the one keeps forcing myself to slow down.  I figure that I have worked my butt off all my life.  It is time to cash in some of that capital and allow myself to take it easy and recover.  I also work from home so it isn't like I am missing anything.  All I need to work is a laptop.  

Probably my biggest issue right now is that I am still anemic from losing the blood.  The doctor said it could be several months before my hemoglobin recovers 100%.  Before the surgery, I was usually pretty active but right now I can go from going full tilt to barely being able lift my arms from exhaustion in about 30 seconds.  It gets better every day though.  I definitely have a new appreciation for people that have genetic blood problems.  I am the type of guy that always feels like I can do anything th

 I am going to walk the 5k this weekend if it isn't too hot.  I went over 2 miles of walking and jogging yesterday so I think if I walk the whole thing, I will be ok.  I'm sure I will finish  last which to be honest isn't much worse than when I was really running.  Smile



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